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List of Contents
Historical Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse under POCSO Act
Source- The Hindu
Syllabus- GS 2 – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable section
Synopsis – There is an urgent need to reform POSCO Act to enable historical reporting of child sexual abuse.
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012 enacted by the government to deal with child sexual abuse cases.
- The law made a significant contribution in dealing with the issues of child sexual abuse. It also protects children from offences like sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.
- But the POSCO Act is unable to deal with historical cases of child abuse faced by a person.
What is historical child sexual abuse?
The term used to describe the cases of child sexual abuse that are reported or came into light very late after the actual incident. This could mean months, years, or decades ago.
The delay in reporting child sexual abuse may be due to the following factors-
- Threats from the perpetrator
- Fear of public humiliation
- Absence of trustworthy confidant
- Intra-familial abuse – Sometimes, it is difficult for the child to report the offense or offender at the earliest.
- The accommodation syndrome – Where the child does not reveal the abuse for fear that no one would believe it, which leads to accommodative behavior.
Why reporting historical child sexual abuse is difficult?
POCSO Act was enacted in 2012. Now if a person wants to file a report of historical child sexual abuse that took place before 2012, i.e. before the POCSO act, it would be challenging.
- Firstly, Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) does not recognize, cases involving child sexual abuse, as rape.
- Thus the case will be filed under the lesser offense of outraging the modesty of a woman (Section 354 of the IPC).
- Secondly, under Section 354 of the IPC, CrPC bars any reporting of an offense, after more than three years of the date of the incident.
What are the drawbacks of delayed reporting of child sexual abuse?
- Lack of evidence to advance prosecution – According to data, there would be less than 5% chance for gathering direct physical and medical evidence in delayed reporting child sexual abuse cases.
- Lack of procedural guidance – In India, there no detailed procedural guidelines on prosecuting historical cases.
- Child sexual abuse cannot and must not be viewed in the same manner as other criminal offenses.
- India must revise its legal and procedural methods to deal with historical child sexual abuse cases, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- There is a need to frame guidelines to direct effective and purposeful prosecution in cases that POCSO does not cover.
Issues in Present Policy of Vaccine Procurement
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
Synopsis: Analysis on issues associated with the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination
- Many State governments have resorted to floating global tenders for COVID-19 vaccines due to Covid vaccine shortage in India.
- The Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination allows states to procure COVID-19 vaccines independently of the global market for people above the age of 18 years.
- However, the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination has many disadvantages.
- A single global tender for vaccine procurement through the center will be more effective in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
What are the issues in the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination?
- First, the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination allows all persons, above 18 years of age to get COVID-19 vaccine doses.
- However, expanding eligibility in the absence of sufficient vaccine supplies will only spread vaccines thinly.
- Second, the burden to procure vaccines for the population of the 18-44 years age group has been shifted to the States. This has many disadvantages,
- One, determination of prices by an oligopolistic market favours unhealthy competition among States.
- Two, States will have to procure doses at higher rates than a single national purchaser. As a result of the new strategy, each vaccine dose will be costlier in India than in any other part of the world.
- All these issues will result in unequal distribution of vaccines among states (Vaccine inequity).
What needs to be done?
- One, government needs to revisit the vaccine policy and use the limited vaccine supply for the adult high-risk and vulnerable group of population.
- Two, vaccination for the 18-44 years age group can be reconsidered when vaccine supply is likely to stabilise.
- Three, Central government should coordinate with the States and make efforts to float a single global tender for vaccine procurement.
- The fact that the federal government has provided vaccines free to all, even in the United States, should be an eye-opener for India.
- Further, procurement of vaccines by the center and administration of vaccines by the states will ensure effective vaccine delivery. For instance, Polio.
- This mechanism of division of labour among centre-state should not be disturbed. The current vaccine strategy burdens States with additional procurement responsibilities that need to be done away with.
Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the right to health. Right to health encompasses accessible, available, and affordable health care. Hence, it is the duty of the central government to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are accessible, available, and affordable.
The U.S exit from Afghanistan and Its Implications on South Asia
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
Synopsis: The U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan will impact the peace and security in south Asia.
- The Afghanistan peace process was set to be discussed in the Istanbul conference hosted by the United Nations. However, it remains suspended due to the reluctance of the Taliban.
- Further, the US under President Joe Biden, is insistent on withdrawing the troops on September 11, even without any power-sharing deal between the rival parties.
- The US withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan will have many consequences on Afghanistan’s neighborhood and in Afghanistan. (India, China, Pakistan)
What are the impacts of the US withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan?
- First, Impact on Afghanistan. Violence in Afghanistan will increase. Since the announcement of an exit date, Afghanistan continues to witness deadly attacks across its provinces. For instance, multiple blasts outside a girl’s school in Kabul recently.
- Second, Impact on Pakistan.
- One, The US’s unconditional support towards Pakistan will end. The U.S. military in Afghanistan for almost two decades was reliant on Pakistan for operational and other support. Pakistan smartly used this factor against India. However, With the US withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, this dependency will disappear.
- Two, Pakistan will be facing unconstrained refugee flows and terror attacks inside its territory if there is another cycle of violence in Afghanistan.
- Third, impact on China. America’s military presence in Afghanistan has suppressed many terrorist groups that threaten China directly or indirectly in Central Asia. It would now leave Beijing vulnerable to its spillover effects, particularly in the restive Xinjiang province.
- Fourth, Impact on India. India had underlined the need for “a genuine double peace” (within and around Afghanistan). Thus, India supports an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process. Similarly, India is worried that a Taliban-dominated regime in Afghanistan might allow Pakistan to dictate Afghanistan’s India policy.
Significance of Community Efforts in Tackling the Pandemic
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: GS 2 – Development processes and the development industry
Synopsis: The government should support community efforts in tackling the pandemic. It should recognize the best efforts and help them scale to a bigger level to make a larger impact.
- Community efforts have been immensely helpful in tackling social problems as the government or market can’t always meet the needs of citizens.
- In the initial years of independence, community groups collected money and supplemented government efforts for development. However, with the passage of time, they took more institutional forms like NGOs who used to directly help the citizens.
- India’s ethos, value systems, and cultural strengths have automatically generated new community groups. They are playing an active role in tackling the second wave of pandemic.
Positive Role played by Community Efforts:
- Breathe India and HelpNow apps are facilitating access to oxygen concentrators, hospitals, and ambulances. Both the apps have been developed by IITians.
- BreatheIndia managed to get nearly 200 concentrators and raise an amount of Rs 2.41 crore.
- Similarly, HelpNow has a mission to save lives by providing timely and quality medical help with neat and sanitised ambulances.
Challenges associated with Community Efforts:
- First, they are facing information asymmetry over various medical equipment and hospital delivery strategies. Which is hampering their efforts. Further, they lack clarity over the ever-changing rules and regulations by governments.
- Second, many NGOs are not able to obtain foreign assistance due to stringent FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) restrictions.
- Third, the dearth of resources and support prevent the scaling up of community initiatives at a macro level.
- NITI Aayog should take multiple steps for supporting community efforts.
- It should engage with government institutions that encourage public participation.
- It should look into the weaknesses and failures of the existing framework in attracting community participation.
- The use of advanced technologies (ABCD — artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and data analytics) can bridge demand-supply gaps.
- It should partner with state governments to explore the launch of platforms that promote cross-learning and experience-sharing. This would help in scaling the community initiatives and prevent the asymmetric flow of information.
- The Aayog currently has a DARPAN portal that creates and promotes a healthy partnership between VOs/NGOs and the Government of India.
- The focus should also be placed on good local-level government initiatives.
- For instance, the Nandurbar district of Maharashtra robustly tackled the second wave due to the efficient work of their district collector (Rajendra Bharud). The efforts made the region an oxygen and hospital bed surplus district.
- The newspapers should report community efforts on a larger scale for motivating people in depressing times.
- Heart-breaking pictures and reports have contributed to Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. A temporary heart condition that is brought on by stress.
Indo-US Synergy on Regional, Bilateral and Multilateral issues
Source: Click Here
Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India
The visit of the Indian Foreign Minister to the US presents an opportunity to improve the strategic partnership. It highlights the India-US synergy on bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.
- Indo-U.S ties are improving under the Biden administration. The relationship is now showing synergy on bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues. Earlier, They used to look at it as separate domains.
- The recent visit of Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar to New York presents an opportunity to deepen the same.
Synergy between bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues:
- The Indo-U.S defence cooperation laid the foundation of the QUAD group. It aims to ensure a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region.
- Earlier there used to be constant friction over regional issues between the two countries.
- The US is supplying essential items for vaccine production and delivering significant relief supplies to India post 2nd wave. This support is crucial for kick-starting the strategy to vaccinate the Indo-Pacific as agreed in the 1st QUAD meeting.
- Both the countries are currently the members of UNSC (United Nations Security Council). This establishes a synergy between bilateral and multilateral security.
- The US led the charge to end India’s nuclear isolation and helped India in getting a Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) waiver. This allowed the supply of nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes.
Factors behind such synergy:
- New Leadership in the U.S: The new President (Joe Biden) discards America’s unilateralism impulses that came to the fore under his predecessor Donald Trump.
- Biden is keener to cooperate on multilateral agreements on trade, health, and climate change.
- Common Rival: China has emerged as a common troubling rival for both countries.
- The US doesn’t want to lose its top position to Beijing, especially in the economic domain. Overexposure to China has impacted their domestic manufacturing.
- Similarly, India is also unhappy with China as:
- It blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Delhi’s quest for a permanent seat at the UNSC.
- It asked for the UNSC intervention against India’s constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir.
- It protects Islamabad from international pressure on the question of Pakistan’s continuing support for cross-border terrorism in the region.
- Geographical Proximity: The Indo-Pacific vision covers the geographical boundaries of both countries. It automatically breeds regional cooperation.
- Both the countries should now revive the strategy to vaccinate the Indo-Pacific as the second wave begins to recede in India.
- Further, the countries should cooperate in boosting the global resilience against the pandemics and frame new international norms.
- Convergence must be established over trade and climate change. India must take support of the US to achieve green growth and reduce its dependence on China.
India is showing a keen interest to cooperate with the west as proved by its active support towards the European Alliance for Multilateralism. The change of leadership in the US presents India an opportunity to make multilateralism an important part of the India-US strategic partnership.